Friday, December 1, 2017

"the Truth shall make you free"

For the first 48 years of my life, I paid almost no attention to current events or politics. Like sports, those were things I didn't discuss with others.  I didn't feel I knew enough about any of those to have a strong opinion, and I didn't have the time or the inclination to learn more than I already knew.  I was happy living like that.

I voted, of course, that was expected of me.  For for 30 of those years, I voted Republican in two different Deep South states (Tennessee and Alabama) ... as a conservative Protestant Christian, I really didn't have to consider how I'd vote or even really care.  I just did as I was expected to.

And then ... ok, what the hell happened to my America when I wasn't watching?  It seemed to turn to shit overnight.

And I suddenly found myself struggling to understand things I never cared about before ... and what I learned turned my comfortable world upside down.  The list of things I was absolutely wrong about was long.  Every day, it seemed, I discovered some new fallacy in my understanding of the world.  Cold War propaganda had worked like magic on me.

I learned this: if you are interested only in the truth, you have to avoid the US mainstream media almost completely. Not that the truth doesn't surface in the US media; it's just much harder to discern. What's truth, and what is "spin"?  You can't tell anymore.

A good rule of thumb is this; if it's a mainstream news outlet based in the US, it almost certainly slants the truth ... to the right, to the left; does it matter which? The US news media plays to an audience that believes that the truth is whatever they want to hear. Americans tend to search out "news" sources that tell them the most comfortable lies.

The fact is, though, most people don't care to know the truth anymore. They think (like I once did) that they already know it. That's a "willful ignorance" and its societal suicide. Head–>Sand.

One good way to verify which are good news sites is to find a significant news item and see who carried it; and, if you're not sure it's true, watch it to see if it is revealed as factual ... or as a fabrication.

And be sure to read non-US news sites. Trust me on this: if you had been paying attention to non-US news sources in January, 2003, you would not believe that "before the invasion of Iraq, everyone thought it was the right thing to do." There was a serious debate about it, then, though most Americans (including myself, living in rural Alabama) were not even remotely aware of it. 

For what it's worth:  those who questioned the Bush Administration and the "evidence" they presented to justify the invasion of Iraq were right to do so. 100% right.  One month before the US invaded Iraq (a tiny defenceless country that posed no threat the US), a future presidential candidate spoke these words in a speech at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa:

"I firmly believe that the president is focusing our diplomats, our
 military, our intelligence agencies, and even our people on the wrong
 war, at the wrong time.  Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia 
 and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access
 to large quantities of arms."

Yes, there were Americans saying the right thing, the problem was that too many Americans weren't listening ... they were caught up in a lynch mob mentality.  Were those who predicted America's failures in its foreign invasions able to see into the future?  Of course not.  Did they know something the rest of us couldn't know?  Nope ... they were only stating truths that were evident to those who hadn't already made up their minds, and were willingly blind to reason or truth.

Those leaders were right.  100% right. And so was Scott Ritter.